September has been a busy month for fighting game fans. Namco dropped Tekken Tag Tournament 2 a few weeks ago and it was met with favorable reviews. Now Team NINJA are throwing their hats into the ring with the latest installment in their wildly popular/infamous Dead or Alive series. Here’s our review for Dead or Alive 5 — you may want to grab a towel.
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Title: Dead or Alive 5
Developer: Team NINJA
Platforms: PS3, Xbox 360
Release Date: 9/25/2012[/toggle_box]
- Visually Stunning – The DOA series has always been responsible for some of the best looking fighting games and DOA 5 is no exception. The characters and stages are stunning and highly detailed.
- Combat – The combat utilizes a triangle system that lets you cancel out your opponent’s moves with stronger attacks. For example strikes take priority over throws, so if someone tries to get all touchy feely — just cancel them out with a strike. It’s all about timing and reading your foe’s moves. Side steps and guards also round out your defensive arsenal.
- Combat II – On the offensive side it’s all about combos and landing power blows. These strong attacks temporarily drain some of the color out of the screen and the camera zooms in for a nice slow motion shot.
- Geek Revolt <3 Mila – Mila was my go to character thanks to her MMA fighting style. I felt like she had a slight learning curve, though, once you get use to her she’s one of the best characters in the game.
- Framerate – The framerate rarely takes a hit, even when everything around you is on fire.
- Game Modes – Story, Versus, Arcade, Time Attack, Survival, Training, and Online Battles. All pretty standard stuff, but what were you expecting? From story to online, everything works like it should.
- Story Mode – The story mode is a decent size. It treats you to a wealth of cutscenes and it features a total of 71 fights. Sure, the narrative can be confusing at times, but watching the characters’ goofy interactions more than makes up for it.
- Fighting Entertainment – DOA 5 doesn’t want to be just another fighting game. For Team NINJA the stages and destruction are just as important as the combat. Stages can look completely different by the end of a match. Things will crumble, break, blow up, etc. When it comes to stage interactivity – DOA 5 can’t be beat.
- Camera – The camera makes every fight feel intense. It zooms in and out, highlighting all of your brutal moves. If you’re not a fan of fancy camera work you can switch to the classic one.
- Real Difficulty Levels – I criticized TTT2’s difficulty levels for feeling broken and said “most fighting games have this problem”. Well — DOA 5 doesn’t have this problem. The game features SEVEN difficulty levels (two are locked at first). This means newcomers can easily pick this up and veterans can crank up the difficulty for an instant challenge.
- Virtua Fighter – DOA 5 includes Akira, Pai Chan, and Sarah Bryant of Virtua Fighter fame. Ryu Hayabusa, Hayate, Ayane, Kasumi, Hitomi, Bayman, Christie, Lei Fang, Zack, Kokoro, Bass, Rig, Jann Lee, Mila, Helena, Lisa, Brad Wong, Elliot, Tina, and a few other fighters round out the roster.
- Don’t Sweat It – This may sound weird, but I really like the sweat effects. You can see it drip down the fighters’ body after a tough match.
- No Ending Movies in Arcade Mode – If you want story and cut-scenes play the story mode. You won’t find anything at the end of the arcade mode except a new title and outfit.
- Voyeuristic – Your female fighter will slump over in sadness when she is defeated. At this point you can pan the camera around her body. Sure, you can do this with the guys too, but the girls always fall in a sexy way that shows off their cleavage. This doesn’t really bother me, but it highlights that sex appeal still plays a major role in the series. Anyone up for a game of beach volleyball?
- The Tekken Effect – If you’re transitioning from Tekken Tag Tournament 2 to Dead or Alive 5 you may be disappointed by DOA 5’s lack of extras. It’s jarring at first, but ultimately you must realize that both games fulfill different needs. TTT2 lacks the visual flare and excitement of DOA 5, while DOA 5 lacks the 50+ character roster and customization tools of TTT2. This may sound crazy, but thanks to all the explosions and fancy camera work DOA 5 almost feels Uncharted-esque. Still, I would have liked a few more characters and goodies.
Dead or Alive 5 isn’t the most technical brawler on the playground, and it sure isn’t the one with the biggest posse. But it makes up for these two short comings by being more entertaining than its peers. Combat is fun and as challenging as you want it to be, the visuals are impressive, and the stages are wonderfully crafted. Pick this one up, it’s money well spent.
[box_light]We believe that the score is the least important part of a review. It’s tough trying to assign a numerical value to an experience. Furthermore, is there really a difference between a 7.5 and an 8? Gamers place too much importance on arbitrary numbers. This is why our scores are hidden by default. Only look at them if you absolutely need a number between 1-10 to see if a game is worth your time. You can read our review guidelines here. A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for review purposes.[/box_light]
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Replay Value: 9
9/10 ‘Amazing’ – This is a must have, you’ll see this game on top ten lists at the end of the year.[/toggle_box]